Yachad conference will give students a new voice

By Aimee Riese, September 6, 2012

Having attended the JStreet conference in Washington earlier this year, I’ve seen first-hand the successes and momentum that students in the US have achieved through bringing a new type of Zionist debate to universities.

On campuses in the UK, we too need to create spaces to discuss and learn. It is important that students can define their Zionism and not be defined by it.

For many students, playing a role in fostering a peaceful and democratic Israel is what it means to be a Zionist.

At the Yachad student conference on September 13 we will bring Jewish students from across universities in the UK together in London to begin a discussion on how we best take up that role.

Yachad’s student leaders are building a movement of students to support a two-state solution on campus. Through the conference we want to inspire conversations and activism around some of the most complex and important issues facing Israel.

We have invited top speakers to address students, including Yossi Mekelberg from Chatham House, Libby Lenkinski from the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, and Danny Friedman, international lawyer and Yachad board member.

We hope that by exploring the impact of the US election on Israel, settlements and human rights in Israel and in the West Bank, it will provide food for thought on how to address similar topics on campus.

We will also be announcing a Yachad student campaign at the conference, a campaign which allows Jewish students not to “leave their values at the door” when it comes to Israel, but rather to actively support the promotion of a two state solution, human rights and peace.

That is what we believe it means to be a Zionist today.

Aimee Riese is studying history and international relations at LSE

Last updated: 4:27pm, September 6 2012